Why Do We Want Marriage to Fail? (The Will and Jada Effect)

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will smith and jada pinkett smith photoYesterday when InTouch Weekly reported that Will Smith and Jada Pinkett-Smith were “separating” after thirteen seemingly blissful years of marriage the Internet world went bizzerk. (Admit it, you choked on your coffee a little.) Before the couple, or their rep, could even confirm or deny the reports, the story was already a trending topic on Twitter and by far the most-shared article of the day.

I, like most of America it seems, stopped what I was doing and begin clicking around the net seeking more details about this supposed split – mainly out of fascination for how popular the topic had become in a matter of minutes. What I found was disturbing on so many levels. Nearly every article posted about the potential demise of Will and Jada’s marriage had received over a thousand Facebook likes. Really? That many people felt comfortable admitting that they “like” the idea that one of the few examples of positive marriage we see in Hollywood could be over? What does that say about marriage in our society today? For starters, even when we see positivity, we’re quick to cast our doubt.

Unlike so many celebrity couples who live their lives in the limelight, over the years, Will and Jada have actually made a point of speaking out about how hard they’ve worked to maintain a healthy happy marriage and family life, and what it takes to get there. I can recall countless interviews throughout their marriage where both Will and Jada have repeatedly credited one another for the success of their marriage and spoken openly about the work involved in achieving and maintaining it. We don’t know whether it’s true or not, but the message they’ve chosen to share is a positive one. Yet, before any of us even knew whether InTouch Weekly was full of crap or not we were already tweeting and Facebooking about how “we knew it” or “it was too good to be true”.

Although ultimately, I don’t think any one should give a damn about anyone else’s marriage but our own – good or bad, and especially celebrity unions – we should check ourselves if we find that our interests are cynical, negative, and ultimately supportive of the failure of an institution that’s designed to uplift and support.

Now if someone clicked the “like” button solely for the purpose of sharing the article with others on their Facebook feed, that’s one thing. Trouble is, if they’re being honest, I don’t think many people can say that’s why they did it. When the news finally broke that all was well in Will and Jada’s world it felt almost as if there was more disappointment in the air than relief. Not even half as many people were willing to stop and “like” that news, last I checked. Why not?!

When it comes to marriage, in general, isn’t success the outcome we all wish for? Or has pop culture’s general disregard and disrespect for the institution as a whole, compounded with the frequent news reports slamming it’s overall validity or relevance in the 21st century, convinced us all that marriage is no longer something we should root for?

Read about my casual chat with Will Smith on marriage and what he taught me here.

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15 Responses to Why Do We Want Marriage to Fail? (The Will and Jada Effect)

  1. Sareh says:

    I certainly agree that the frenzy over the news break was a little alarming (you know, until the earthquake took precedent), I think this couple's tight ties to Scientology and candidness about their "open marriage" may have exacerbated the buzz surrounding the rumored split.

    There's also an element os Schadenfreude that exists especially when it comes to celebs no matter what the misfortune is. And I agree with you on that point – rooting for failure is more than unsettling.

  2. @mereditor says:

    I would hope people were clicking like as a way of sharing the news, not actually liking it, but I'm sure there were people who were satisfied that their marriage was falling apart. I think it's because celebrities seem to have it all–fame, fortune, good looks–so when they can't make a marriage work, it reminds us that their lives aren't perfect, which makes us feel better about our imperfect existences.

    • ManWifeDog says:

      It's true, we do find solace in failure. It's human, but sad, right? Thanks so much for the comment love Meredith. You KNOW I love it when you stop by!!!!

  3. @notsosingle says:

    I was clicking away trying to find anything other than that intouch article and a couple gossip columns in England.

    I love Celebrity gossip, and will be the FIRST to admit to me they are characters, not people. Part of choosing to live your live int he public eye is choosing to have your life on display, looked at and examined. I don't know any of the celebrities in person. They live a life I can not fathom, so as weird as that sounds, their real life might as well be a movie. Which I follow for entertainment.

    I would have been so sad had the news been true, because two characters/public figures/celebrities who seem to have it figured out would be splitting up. Much the way people were shocked and confused with Arnold and Maria.

    I heard many coworkers say that Will&Jada were the model marriage and many people look at them that way. Partly because we want them to win and partly because they have positioned themselves as the celebrity power couple.

    There are always going to be people who want to see you fall flat on your face. In your real life, or with celebrities.

    i hope their power-statement is true. I really like having a few Celeb couples who are marriage role models.

    My recent post We would be doing the same thing in real life anyways

  4. Alice X says:

    What? They are separating? This is the first i have heard of it. They looked pratically perfect together and as a family.

    I think that the media and the modern world in general plays down the value of marriage. I think people view as a more temporary thing these days, it's no set in stone like it used to be.

  5. integratedmemoirs says:

    I think when it comes to the instutution of marriage, people don't believe in it (especially in America). In order to validate their "lack of believe," they enjoy seeing marriages crumble. It's a sick way of thinking, but it's very common in today's society.

  6. ames says:

    The majority of comments that I read that said ""too good to be true" or "I knew it" were not gloating or happy.
    They were hurt and let down. I didn't realize how many people admired them as a couple. When that story came out, it made some people wonder if the dream exists. If Will and Jada can't maintain the dream who can?

    I took it as if everything is going perfect and suddenly a bird poops on your shoes and you say, "I knew it", "too good to be true". It isn't that you are happy about the poop. People are so used to hearing about Hollywood marriages failing, it's hard for them to have faith that we will ever get another Ruby Dee and Ossie Davis.

    • ManWifeDog says:

      I wish I'd seen more comments that didn't seem malicious. I saw a lot of gloating on the gossip sites, but then again, I feel like haters are naturally drawn to those sites (TMZ, Perez Hilton, etc.) Thanks for weighing in — it's certainly thought provoking. I would love to see more Ruby and Ossies, for sure.

  7. I knew right off the bat that the article was false, I can't explain how though. Will & Jada are a great example of marriage, especially black marriage. I am working on my own marriage, though, and prefer not to stress about celebrities. I want to make sure my own marriage gets to 13 years and beyond.
    My recent post Marriage Chat Recap: Parenting with a Purpose

  8. Success may be what every married couple aims for, but many members of society, in general, are quick to point fingers and laugh at anyone who's down and out, especially when it comes to Hollywood marriages. It seems more of an outlet to express their dislike for the person/persons, and it's quite disheartening to see so many people "like" negative news. One thing is to share… but it's another thing to laugh at failure.

    Back to the main topic, this is actually news to me… I avoid looking at the magazine stand while standing in lines. Only sources I can find for this divorce originate from Hollywood- and gossip-sites. Will have to see if these two pull through then!
    My recent post Click one of the post titles above to include it at the end of your comment

  9. it's quite disheartening to see so many people "like" negative news. One thing is to share… bu

  10. essayheaven says:

    It was really shocking that these two great celebrities are separating because no one want them to separate but that’s life for you people. I don’t even expect that from these two of them because they spend a lot of time together and they want to do this in their life.

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